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HB 0311 - State government; waiver of sovereign immunity as to actions ex contractu and state tort claims; provisions

Tracking Level: Monitor
Sponsor: Andrew Welch
Last Action: 5/10/2019 - Veto V5
House Committee: Judiciary
Senate Committee: Judiciary
Assigned To:
12. All CourtsNext Bill
CivilNext Bill
TortNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

HB 311 would amend Title 50, Title 36, Title 23, and Code Section 5-6-34 of the O.C.G.A. to waive the sovereign immunity of state and municipal governments to permit certain lawsuits against state and municipal government officials acting in their official capacity, such as relief to remedy an imminent or actual injury caused by a state or local official or employee acting in violation of a state statute, the U.S. Constitution, or the Georgia Constitution; and lawsuits that ask a court to declare a state or municipal law unconstitutional.  It would require that written notice be served on a prospective defendant and the attorney general at least 30 days before such a lawsuit may commence.  HB 311 would not waive state and local sovereign immunity for the following claims: 1) claims in which another state statute explicitly prohibits a sovereign immunity waiver; 2) claims for monetary relief, attorney’s fees, or litigation expenses, unless assessed in a frivolous lawsuit under O.C.G.A. § 9-15-14; 3) claims alleging violations of federal law other than the U.S. Constitution; 4) claims brought in federal court; and 5) claims brought by, or on behalf of, an individual in a penal institution or a state mental health facility.  The measure would also waive municipal government sovereign immunity in certain breach of contract claims.  HB 311 would not waive or alter other immunities provided by statute or recognized by the courts, including grand juror immunity, judicial immunity, legislative immunity, prosecutorial immunity, or qualified immunity.  The bill would also provide for a direct appeal to the appellate courts of all judgments, orders, or rulings denying or refusing to grant any type of immunity to state and local government entities and officials.  HB 311 would only apply to claims arising on or after July 1, 2019.

Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text